Truckers get $7M in back pay following misclassification claims, strikes

West Coast port truckers several times in recent years have initiated strikes over claims of misclassification.West Coast port truckers several times in recent years have initiated strikes over claims of misclassification.

The California Labor Commissioner has concluded 38 Pacific 9 Transportation drivers are employees — not contractors — and that the drayage company owes them $6,926,279 in wages.

The commission’s Department of Labor Standards Enforcement Dec. 14 order represents an average individual award of $182,271, the Teamsters union said. On Sept. 10, the commission ended six weeks of wage-and-hour hearings for the 38 drivers.

In July, Pac 9 drivers began their sixth and indefinite strike to protest what it says is unfair labor practices at the Carson-based company.

The company had agreed to recognize drivers as employees instead of independent contractors, following a 2014 settlement agreement with the region’s National Labor Relations Board. Classification as employees also entitles drivers to federal labor law protection, including collective bargaining rights.

However, the NLRB withdrew that agreement for non-compliance, the union said. The California Superior Court rejected Pac 9’s subsequent motions to stay the commission hearings, as well as the company’s Dec. 18 petition to compel arbitration.

Pac 9 has 15 days to appeal, once the order is formally served to the company.

The commission had used the “Borello Test,” which gauges factors such as an employer’s control over workers to determine employment classification.

Drivers would receive liquidated damages for being paid less than minimum wage for hour works. Under California law, that amounts to an award of what they should have been paid, plus interest.

It also ordered Pac 9 to:

*Reimburse drivers for out-of-pocket expenses, including fuel and truck repairs.

*Provide them premium pay for failing to mandating meal and rest periods.

*Compensate drivers who were fired or quit by their hearing date with “waiting time penalties,” which is 30 days’ pay at their daily rate.

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